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Stalling construction ships

 
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Stalling construction ships - 6/22/2013 6:08:17 PM   
WCG

 

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I did a search for this, but came up with different answers, from different years (nothing recent that I could find). And I'm still in my first game, so I'm trying to get a handle on things.

As far as I can tell, construction ships and bases both stall in their production when they run short of a resource, but only bases ever seem to recover from it. I'll see freighters bringing the necessary resource to the location of a construction ship, but I never see any further progress. So I've been stopping the construction and sending them elsewhere.

If I send a different construction ship there, it goes to my home system first (loading resources, I suppose) and then heads to the previously-stalled construction. That seems to clear the stall, although this sometimes happens a couple of times, so I have to do this all over again.

But am I wasting time doing this? Will a stalled construction ship eventually start up again? The thing is, there's so much micromanagement in the game that I can play for hours without much time passing in the game. So maybe I'm just not giving it enough time?

(At the same time, I generally give it some time before cancelling the order. So maybe I'm wasting time that way, by not cancelling it the moment it stalls? But it's kind of a pain trying to remember what needs repairing which doesn't already have a construction ship assigned to it.)

Finally, how does this work when you let the AI handle construction ships? In fact, how well does that work in general? I've had the construction ships on manual for the whole game,... but maybe that's not necessary? (Well, it's probably not necessary, but is it optimal?)

Bill


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RE: Stalling construction ships - 6/22/2013 6:39:07 PM   
Bingeling

 

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It helps to know what version you run. I will assume Shadows, as the below is a new feature in this expansion.

When I checked, in a stable empire with an odd shortage, constructors were served fast. If you have a lot of shortages, it could take more time, and it does take time in any case, since the freighter needs to pick up stuff.

If you enable civilian travel vectors, those working for your selected object will have red vectors. Spaceport book resources for their colony (if present), the colony itself books migration. The vector will be red even when heading for the pickup point, but there is no vector if at the pickup point or travelling on normal engines. So it may pay to wait long enough for freighters to "dock - undock - jump" before panicking.

So you can select your constructor, zoom as far as you can while still seeing civilian vectors, and browse for red stuff somewhat nearby. If you find that, things will solve themselves. In my game the red vectors were there very quickly, but this was in a situation where there was only one very odd shortage (a local argon shortage).

If no hired freighters are found, and it is not a crippling shortage across many colonies (you should notice those), you can try interrupt the constructor, and tell it to repair. It should then head to the closest spaceport to pick up what it lacks, but if the goods are not present nearby, it could potentially not help much. Just "interrupt - repair - automate" to have it continue on its automated way once done repairing. You can of course try this even if you have a crippling shortage, but you will probably find the constructor stuck again.


(in reply to WCG)
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RE: Stalling construction ships - 6/22/2013 7:11:41 PM   
WCG

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bingeling

It helps to know what version you run. I will assume Shadows


Yes, sorry. I'm playing Distant Worlds: Shadows.

quote:

If you enable civilian travel vectors, those working for your selected object will have red vectors.


I didn't know this. Thanks!

But you're saying they will become unstuck, then? When I first started playing, I waited for a long time. And I could see the freighters visiting that location with the needed resources. But my construction ships never made any progress at all.

quote:

If no hired freighters are found, and it is not a crippling shortage across many colonies (you should notice those), you can try interrupt the constructor, and tell it to repair. It should then head to the closest spaceport to pick up what it lacks


Yes, that's what I've been doing. But that's not necessary?

The issue isn't a particular crippling shortage, but different shortages in different parts of my empire. In general, I can't seem to build enough mines, so I'm short on lots of things. (Mines require resources to build, and I can't seem to build enough of everything.)

However, it's usually just one or two resources I'm lacking, when a construction ship stalls. But it's not the same resource each time. Different ships (and bases) stall for lack of different things. The difference is that bases seem to recover after awhile, but I haven't seen this with construction ships.

But maybe I haven't given it enough time. (I'll check for the red lines.) Thanks for the reply!

Bill


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RE: Stalling construction ships - 6/22/2013 7:25:43 PM   
Bingeling

 

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I would expect that if there is struggles with moving stuff around, the service for the constructor will take longer, since he is not the only one asking for help.

Do you lose a lot of mines (pirates, war)? That could mess things up, and if the AI is stupid about where it places them, pirate losses could be quite bad. Having a mine in a system frequently visited by pirates is not the brightest idea.

Some resources are somewhat rare, and if unlucky you could have lacking sources for this (carbon fiber and friends).

Also, in Legends I saw my AI insist on building 9 gas mines before a steel one, with 0 steel in store and 0 steel sources. And steel is an ingredient of everything you can build, as far as I know, including gas mines. But I guess you are not that badly off, and the AI sorted out that issue with trade.

Too rapid expansion will probably also give shortages, as more civilian ships ordered. I will always prefer to delay colonization of candidates in my area of influence. I will focus on independents, and "grabbing territory".

(in reply to WCG)
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RE: Stalling construction ships - 6/26/2013 3:24:28 AM   
Starke

 

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I posted a bug report about this/a related issue here: tm.asp?m=3343443&mpage=1 (I can't post full links), see if that can tell you anything you don't know.

In my experience I've never seen a freighter deliver the needed material to a construction ship (in one I had a Constructor waiting for 1 and 1/2 years before I retasked him), though I'm new to the game. However, I HAVE seen a freighter pick up a load of materials from a supposedly incomplete mining station - what I did was stop and issue a repair order to the Constructor. This was in the first game in which I'd seen the constructor not go pick up the needed Steel... but apparently it at least made the station 'operational' because a freighter was able to use it. All that remained to be built were a few cargo containers anyway, which are a large portion of the total Steel needed to build the station, but are not critical as long as there are a few built.

What I don't understand is why a Constructor would go to the build site without the needed materials in the first place, rather than picking them up from a nearby system or waiting for more to become available. Could be a 'feature', but I think I'd just rather have it wait.

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RE: Stalling construction ships - 7/9/2013 5:09:11 AM   
WCG

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bingeling

Do you lose a lot of mines (pirates, war)?

Some resources are somewhat rare,...

Also, in Legends I saw my AI insist on building 9 gas mines before a steel one,...


I build mines manually, and I think I've only lost one the entire game (I rebuilt that one quickly). And I haven't had any trouble finding strategic resources. But having enough resources everywhere they're needed seems to be the most difficult part of the game, for me.

I'm just always having construction stalling - even in my home system, sometimes. And I'm always vastly short of the most common resources - Caslon, Hydrogen, Steel, Gold, etc. - no matter how many mines I build.

I suspect that frequent upgrades might be the problem, because I've got a very strong research program. But even when I build construction ship after construction ship (and yes, I know that takes resources, too), I can't seem to keep up with the demand.

Oh, and I trade with the neighbors, too. My finances are healthy (the private economy, too), even when I've ordered pirate smuggling missions at every colony, but I just can't seem to keep up with the demand for resources.

Bill

PS. When building stalls at my construction ships, because of a resource shortage, I still cancel the order, then click to 'repair' the base. Sometimes, the ship will go pick up resources, then return. Other times, it just goes back to work. But if I don't do that, they seem to stay stalled forever.

That's not the case when bases stall in their own work (when upgrading, for example), but it sure seems to be the case with my construction ships.


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RE: Stalling construction ships - 7/9/2013 6:56:39 AM   
Starke

 

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What is the research cost set to, and are you playing a research bonused race? How many constructors are you building?

Because so many factors effect, well, just about everything in this game, what seems like 'a lot' for me may not be much at all for you. For example, I've kept my empire's main colonies well supplied with just 4-7 constructors (started with four, now 7 of them 25 years into the game) controlled manually. I use general pirate smuggling missions for new colonies and occasional resource-specific ones when a colony runs short on something, and so far I've never felt very stretched for materials.

I think what causes stalled constructors is they pick up the resources at a colony with a small stock of something, and they don't bother to get it elsewhere before going to build. It doesn't even necessarily have to be a "shortage" at the colony because the colony may not be reserving any of that resource. The constructor tries to pick up 60 of whatever, gets the last 37, for example, and leaves.

Also, check the out your resources in the expansion planner - specifically, the "stores," "in transit," and "unfulfilled" (or something like that) columns. If your stores look reasonable but you still have a shortage, it means your private sector isn't distributing it correctly. It also could be that a good chunk of it is squirreled away on your mining stations - I've noticed a tendency of the AI to drop off 10-50 units of [insert a dozen random resources here] at mining stations. If you have a lot in transit, it looks like your private sectors is either working on the issue or just not getting it where it needs to go. Etc., Etc.

P.S. I assume you haven't played with your mining station designs. If you design your own, just make sure they have 2 mining engines (called gas extractors for gas stations I think?) and a luxury extractor each, plus a bunch of storage - I think 20 cargo containers is default.

P.P.S. That reminds me of another possible way to nuke your economy via a design flaw. Go to Ships and Bases, then Mining Stations, click the top one, then shift-click the bottom one. Now, by each mining station icon in the lower right there should be a green bar - their fuel. I think in a classic game, mining stations start with an energy collector that can usually handle their entire static energy draw, but obviously this isn't included if you start in the Age of Shadows. If you don't add one, that means higher caslon remand, lots of freighters tied up delivering fuel to mining stations, and given the AI's efficiency, possibly a lot of mining stations unable to mine.

(in reply to WCG)
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RE: Stalling construction ships - 7/9/2013 2:25:47 PM   
WCG

 

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I'm playing as a human democracy, so yes, I get research bonuses. At a guess, I've got 12-15 construction ships by now (about 30 years into the game). Also, I haven't messed with the AI designs when it comes to bases (or construction ships).

This is my first game, and it's not that I'm in a bind. The pirates are no threat anymore, and I'm far ahead of the other empires (the next closest is my ally). In fact, I'm thinking of starting over, because the early game (with the constant threat of pirates) was more fun.

But I've just been surprised at how hard it is to keep ahead on resources. The "unfulfilled" column (or whatever it's called) on the resource screen just gets bigger and bigger. I build mines as fast as I can (and I've only lost one or two to raids), but it never seems to be enough.

Of course, I've also got construction ships at three different collections of abandoned ships, repairing them. And since the pirates have ceased to be a big threat, I've been settling lots of new colonies now. All of that takes resources, I suppose.

So I guess my only surprise is that money has been relatively easy to manage, compared to resources, which have been so difficult. I'm never short of money, although I tend not to build up a big cash supply. But resources don't seem to be nearly as easy to manage.

Bill


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